Tag Archives | Science Fiction

Never a Note, Never a Trill

A tantalising bonus scene from Star Trek: Discovery has been released. I have no idea why this wasn’t included in the final episode; it’s pretty significant for the plot, and it would have made a great post-credits scene for the season finale (and given that the show’s on a streaming service, they’re a bit more flexible as to running time than a standard network show would be).

SPOILER WARNING: Do not watch this scene unless you have finished watching the entire first season of Discovery:


A Trout in the Milk

Here’s a screenshot from the new Bullwinkle trailer:

And here’s a photo of my beloved Prague:

Notice any similarities?

(The Prague Conference on Political Economy is going on right now – wish I were there!)


Cap vs. Shield

Here are two moments that for some reason haven’t been dramatised in any Marvel movies yet:


To and Fro Upon the Earth

Last week I gave a talk on Lockean vs. Kantian takes on property rights in a state of nature at the PPE Society meeting in New Orleans. The conference had loads of libertarian academics; check out the participant list. Ann Cudd gave a keynote address criticising libertarians for being social atomists who don’t believe in any positive moral obligations; she seemed genuinely surprised that the assembled libertarians took exception to this characterisation. As a culminating irony she even offered, as a supposed critique of libertarianism, an analysis of Robinson Crusoe virtually identical to Bastiat’s.

(Incidentally, for anyone visiting New Orleans I highly recommend the shrimp and grits at Café Fleur de Lis and, as always, anything at Sukho Thai.)

Upon my return, I gave a talk on the relation between philosophical thought-experiments and fantastic fiction at the Auburn Philosophy Club’s panel on Fantasy, Fiction, and Philosophy here in Auburn.

Tomorrow I leave for gigs at the Pacific APA in San Diego and the APEE in Las Vegas; see the next post for details.

Then I’ll be coming back just in time for the Auburn Philosophy department’s conference on Practical Reasoning.


Things I Learn From TV

SUPERHERO’S FRIEND: You mustn’t ever kill anyone. You can never come back from that.

SUPERHERO: I’ve already killed someone.

SUPERHERO’S FRIEND: Oh. Well – you can totally come back from that!


Disjunction Dysfunction

Here are two facts that you’ll already know if you’re a Star Trek fan. But have you put the two together before?

1. “The Cage,” Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek pilot episode, featured a female first officer on the Enterprise, known only as Number One. The network, skittish about having both such a prominent female character and that demonic-looking alien named Spock, told Roddenberry he had to lose one or the other. Roddenberry chose to keep Spock and dump Number One.

2. In “Lethe,” the sixth episode of the current series Star Trek: Discovery, Sarek learns that although both his half-human son Spock and his adopted human daughter Michael Burnham (who will later be first officer on the Shenzou) have qualified for the Vulcan Expeditionary Force, the leaders of the VEF are leery of Sarek’s “experiments” rearing “not-quite-Vulcans,” and so have decided that they will accept only one, not both. They leave the choice up to Sarek, who decides to let Spock rather than Michael get the post.

I just now put these two facts together for the first time. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that twice someone is forced to choose between Spock and a female first officer, and chooses Spock. I feel pretty certain that the fictional choice in Discovery was a reference to Roddenberry’s real-life choice. I haven’t see anyone else comment on this.


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